Reception w/b 30th October
Date: 3rd Nov 2023 @ 4:53pm
It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome Reception back to school this week, eager to ‘dive in’ to a new half term of fun, learning and exciting enhancements. The Reception team have thoroughly enjoyed observing children so enthused by enhancements in the classroom during our first week of Autumn 2.
Firstly, I must express sincere thanks for all of your support over the half term break. From Monday’s phonics lesson, it was immediately clear to see that so many children have been working hard, practising the sounds and blending opportunities that had been sent home on the final Friday. This really helped the children to ‘hit the ground running’ so we are so very grateful. After a Monday phonics recap as a whole class, we were ready to launch our new phonics group teaching on Tuesday. This approach proves so valuable for all children as it allows us to tailor our phonics teaching even more closely to individual needs and, due to small group sizes, the children benefit from even more support. The children have been most excited to work with new adults in new spaces – they feel very grown up! In addition to myself and Mrs McAree, children will be working with: Mrs Marshfield (Year 2 teaching assistant), Mrs Sherliker-Hewitt (Year 2 teaching assistant), Mrs Warren (Year 4 teaching assistant), Mrs Gleave (Year 4 teaching assistant) and Mrs McLean. This means that each group may be working on different sounds each week. I shall therefore update you with the sounds of the week for your child via the ‘How to Help at Home’ document.
This week, we launched our new topic – superheroes! Please see our topic web for more information. We started the week by exploring some items: a mask, a cape, a backpack, a map, a pen and a magnifying glass. We wondered who may use these items and why. We discussed what we already know about superheroes. We then looked at an illustration of a girl rescuing a cat, sneaking up on a villain, lifting up her dad and reading lots of books. After discovering that her name was Juniper Jupiter, we asked: What super powers does she have? How do you know? Do you think people know that Juniper Jupiter is a superhero? Why? If you were a superhero, what super powers would you have? Then, it was at last time to read our new focus text: Juniper Jupiter by Lizzy Stewart. We especially enjoyed the moment when Juniper Jupiter realised that her dog, Peanut, would be the perfect sidekick. Later in the week, we explored vocabulary in the book, including: kind, brave, sneaky, smart, lonely, sidekick, checklist, poster, audition, daunted and sulk. Goodness me, there were some tricky words in this story! We enjoyed the challenge of defining these words and practising using them in sentences, including within the provision. Finally, we have had a look at our new story map. Next week, we shall learn to use Makaton signs to retell the story in a ‘Talk For Writing’ style.
Our literacy adult-led task has focused on writing a checklist, just like Juniper Jupiter. This week, we have been writing our own checklists of superhero equipment. Children have recorded either whole words (e.g. map), some sounds they can hear in the words (e.g. ‘ma’ or ‘mp’) or initial sounds (e.g. m). We have been so impressed with the Fred Talk and the letter formation skills applied in this task. Well done Reception writers!
Within our NCETM Mastering Number sessions, we have been comparing sets of objects using the language of ‘more than’ and ‘fewer than’. ‘Fewer than’ is used rather than ‘less than’ because the focus is on countable things. Language has been a key focus, using the stem sentence _________ has more/fewer than ________ . E.g. Counting Croc has fewer buttons than Fred.
On Wednesday we began our ‘First PE’ unit. To warm up, we played ‘Moving Me’, a game to encourage the children to move in a variety of ways. We practised moving into large spaces and freezing when we heard the signal as we walked around as ‘happy me’, ‘grumpy me’, ‘sad me’, ‘funny me’, ‘small me’, ‘big me’. We then played a game of ‘sticky body parts. Children ‘stuck’ different parts of their body on the floor as they were called out e.g. foot, hands, head, elbow, knee, tummy. Finally, we worked on our jumping and hopping skills. At the end of the lesson, lots of children said that they were feeling a bit sweaty and warm. We talked about how hard they had worked as they exercised!
This week, we enjoyed this half term’s ‘No Outsiders’ lesson. First, we looked at an image of different fruits. In pairs, the children discussed their favourites; lots of pairs had different favourites. We discussed the fact that, in this lesson, our focus would be the fact that we like different things and we are friends. We read the book ‘Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly’ by Sue Heap and Nick Sharratt. Nick and Sue like lots of different things but they still like each other; they are great friends. In our talk partners, we worked together to each draw things that we like and then said, “We are friends.” We concluded that we found things that we all liked as well as lots of ways we are different; we are still wonderful friends.
We have also been learning some Spanish this week. After being introduced to our Spanish speaking friends, we learnt how to greet others by saying ‘hola’.
Much of our learning this week has been inspired by Bonfire Night. After a very light touch on the idea of Guy Fawkes, we learnt that Bonfire Night is celebrated on the 5th of November each year…‘Remember, remember the 5th of November’. We shared photographs of Bonfire Night celebrations, discussing our own experiences and traditions, such as using sparklers or eating toffee apples. After watching a short video (https://youtu.be/5Hi4xcvTROE), we talked about the different types of fireworks that children saw and the sounds that children heard. This inspired us to sing a firework song to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus, replacing “all day long” with “at the firework party”. For example, we sang: the rockets in the sky go swish, swish, bang; the Catherine wheels spin around and round; the sparklers in our hand go sparkle sparkle sparkle. We even watched a firework display to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (https://youtu.be/7EuGEdNnWr4). We moved to the music just like a firework, choosing to be fountains, rockets, Catherine wheels, sparklers etc. The children have also used a variety of techniques to create firework artwork, including: printing with a snipped cardboard tube, printing with forks, blowing paint with straws and drawing with chalk. Other enhancements have included: using spray bottles to put out a chalk bonfire; creating firework rockets with 2D shapes, mark making in glitter and exploring the fire station small world area.
Mr Simmons has extended and enhanced this learning in our Forest School sessions. On Monday, we were lucky enough to have a hot chocolate in the new outdoor classroom. Mr Simmons talked to us all about the fire pit rules and the importance of fire safety. He then talked about safety on Bonfire Night, including: wearing gloves when holding a sparkler; never running around with a sparkler; putting the sparkler in a bucket of water when finished; only using sparklers with the permission and supervision of a grown-up; never touching a firework; staying well away whilst a grown-up lights the firework; never touching a bonfire; not standing too close to a bonfire and making sure to walk near the bonfire, not run. The children suggested many of these rules themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed our extra Forest School time! On Tuesday, we then used sticks to build our own ‘bonfires’. Mr Simmons showed us how to stand one stick in the middle and lean the others against it to create the perfect shape. We then used leaves to represent ‘flames’, another opportunity to talk about the colours of autumn.
Almost unbelievably, the first week of Autumn 2 brings with it some Nativity songs! Our RE time involved an introduction to the Nativity; we will explore this in more detail over the coming weeks. Next week, we shall think about the parts that children are going to play in our performance. It would be useful to have a chat about this at home; how would your child feel about saying a line on the stage? Please feel welcome to get in touch to share how your child would feel about saying a line in our performance.
What a wonderful first week it has been! Next week promises to bring more exciting experiences, beginning with our first school photographs on Monday morning. I hope that you are all able to stay cosy on this rather wet weekend and that you enjoy a restful couple of days after a busy week.
With many thanks for your continued support,